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HomeTheatreIn Dialog: Alistair Baldwin - Griffin Theatre Firm

In Dialog: Alistair Baldwin – Griffin Theatre Firm


21.07.22

Introduce us to YOU. What’s your artistic background? What introduced you to playwriting?

Playwriting solely got here onto my radar after I bought concerned with MTC’s First Stage program again in 2019. Co-run by EWF, First Stage brings in a bunch of creatives from associated (i.e. rival) artwork varieties to work on their first play.

I got here into this system from a TV writing background—I completed my Bachelor of Screenwriting at VCA in 2016 and managed to get quasi-regular work writing on a couple of ABC comedies (e.g. ‘Get Krack!n’ & ‘The Weekly’).

I actually loved the contrasting freedom playwriting gave me to seek out my very own authorial voice. Until you’re the showrunner, a variety of TV writing is about matching the voice set by the creator.

First Stage was a chance to finesse my very own explicit voice, and I ended up with ‘Lame’ – a 20-minute play about two associates who suspect their disabilities have instantly turn out to be “cool” after they’re invited to their former high-school-bully’s home social gathering. After that I used to be a part of MTC’s Cybec Electrical program, growing an early excerpt of the play that might turn out to be ‘Telethon Child’.

I believe my expertise in TV informs my playwriting observe quite a bit. Writing to match the tone of a specific creator, pitching jokes within the voice of a longtime comic – this type of ghostwriting helped me turn out to be extra malleable in my writing, which hopefully helps me preserve my characters distinct.

What’s your play about?

‘Telethon Child’ kicks off at a convention held by Huge Pharma multinational Geneuris.

Because the world’s main skilled in a hyper-niche genetic dysfunction, ‘Doc’ is there to compete for the Geneuris Orphan Prize – a prestigious endowment to proceed analysis into an ‘orphan illness’ (a real FDA designation given to illnesses so uncommon that there’s no monetary incentive to develop therapies).

To assist his presentation Doc invitations Sam, a former pediatric affected person of his dwelling with the dysfunction. Now in his 20s, Sam is a charismatic influencer adept at leveraging his incapacity and manipulating abled folks into opening their pockets.

However when Sam makes a transfer on the DILF-y physician he’s crushed on for years, it ignites a murky debate into medical ethics, commerce and the blurry line between medical curiosity and sexual attraction.

Why do you need to inform this story on a stage as we speak?

As somebody born with a uncommon dysfunction who was usually paraded about in entrance of pupil medical doctors as a ‘fascinating case research’, I grew up intimately aware of the spectacle of medication – of being stared at, examined, prodded and pathologised.

I used to be additionally aware of the spectacle of charity drives. Whereas I used to be by no means photogenic sufficient to be a Channel 7 Telethon Child myself, I might at all times run into these youngster stars at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth and poo with jealousy on the airtime they bought.

Partly, scripting this play was a approach for me to unpack the impact these duelling experiences had on me – my physique picture, my intercourse life, my ambition, my narcissism. It additionally grew to become an experiment in affording extra humanity and nuance to the medical doctors I encountered.

We’re conditioned to place medical doctors on pedestals; turning them into these purely-altruistic, fashionable saints. I believe this does a disservice to their humanity as a lot because it does to sufferers. Sufferers aren’t merely faulty tissue samples, medical doctors aren’t merely pious angels on earth – we’re all simply people that should receives a commission / get laid.

Opening up some nuance into the well being supplier / shopper divide feels related as we speak as a result of the pandemic pressured so many wholesome & abled folks to think about themselves inside a medicalized system for the primary time.

It was so attention-grabbing to see folks expressing model loyalty to explicit Huge Pharma corps, e.g. Pfizer as a standing image, AZ as an underdog badge of honour. It’s plain that Huge Pharma corps like Pfizer do save lives. Docs save lives, too.

It felt well timed to ask the query: simply how a lot particular remedy and leeway ought to we afford a company, or an individual, simply because they’re within the life-saving enterprise?

What was the method like scripting this play?

Creating an early excerpt of this work by means of Cybec Electrical in 2020 was the very last thing I did earlier than the primary Melbourne lockdown. The performing arts evaporated, and I misplaced all my momentum for a 12 months.

Then once more, this stretch wasn’t completely unproductive – like many individuals I adopted a thousand medical doctors and scientists on Twitter. It was an info-overload each day, however snippets of the medical trade’s practices and strategies and rivalries and cattiness and loftiness and exploitation (giving and receiving) bought caught in my unconscious.

I began investigating awards just like the Prix Galien and the Pfizer Analysis Prize, side-by-side with a serious binge-watch of Shark Tank. Right away the form of play crystallised and the complete first draft tumbled out in a day.

What has been inspiring you recently? Give us a life advice, ANY advice.

I’m endlessly impressed ( / motivated resulting from white-hot artistic jealousy) by my pal Vidya Rajan, so naturally seeing her phenomenal adaptation of Trying For Alibrandi at Malthouse final week moved me to tears and had me plotting which basic Aussie textual content I might adapt if I might.

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